Nestled between the Mediterranean Sea and the gorgeous Montserrat Mountains, the Catalonia region offers a stunning backdrop for exploring wineries near Barcelona. Catalonia has two thousand years of winemaking history and is home to more than 300 wineries and 12 Designations of Origin regions (including the famous Spanish sparkling wine cava).
So how do you decide which regions and which wineries to visit? Should you take a tour or a day trip from Barcelona or should you stay the night? I’ll answer all of these questions as well as adding in some food and hotel recommendations in this article about wineries near Barcelona.
Best Wine Regions to Visit Near Barcelona
Table of Contents
- Best Wine Regions to Visit Near Barcelona
- How to Visit Wineries near Barcelona
- Hire a Car
- Travel by Train
- Wineries in the Penedès Region
- 1. Freixenet
- 2. Recaredo
- 3. Canals and Munne
- 4. Codorniu
- 5. Segura Viudas
- 6. Familia Torres
- Wineries in the Priorat Region
- 7. Mas Doix
- 8. Perinet
- Planning Your Visit
- Best Time to Visit
- Where to Stay in Catalonia
All 12 DO regions in Catalonia are relatively close to Barcelona, with decent road and transport links. However, I doubt you have the time to visit all of them. When I am traveling, I make my decisions based on what is unique in an area. What can I do in this area that I can’t do in other places? Or experiences that are done in a unique way.
Based on those criteria, I would recommend visiting the DOQ of Priorat as well as the DO of Penedes, which includes much of the DO Cava. If you are mad about big red wines and can only visit one region then head to Priorat. If you are not such a red wine lover but love white and sparkling wines, then head to the Penedès wine region. Ideally, visit both regions as they offer very different and quite complementary experiences.
How to Visit Wineries near Barcelona
There are several options for visiting wineries near Barcelona to enjoy some Catalan wine:
Hire a Car
Hiring a car in Spain is easy and the roads around Catalonia are relatively good. Penedes is about a one-hour drive from Barcelona. Priorat is a two-hour drive. Do note that Priorat is not as well developed as Penedes when it comes to tourist infrastructure. There are lots of small, windy roads and the roads are not as well maintained.
Travel by Train
Getting from Barcelona to Penedes by public transportation for a tour of the vineyards is very easy. Trains from Barcelona to the Cava capital Saint Sadurni d’Anoia take just over one hour and run quite frequently. The capital of the Penedes region, Vilafranca del penedès, is one-stop farther from Barcelona on the same train line. This also means it is quite easy to get between Vilafranca del Penedes and s=Sant sadurní d’anoia by train.
It is possible to take a train from Barcelona to Marca-Falset station. These trains take between 90 minutes and two hours and unfortunately do not run frequently. Also, once you arrive at Marca-Falset station, transport options are limited. The best way to explore Priorat is via a tour or by hiring a car.
If you are staying in Barcelona and looking for a wine-based day trip the easiest option is to take a tour. There are many options for wine tours to Penedes from Barcelona. These range from half-day quick trips to full-day tours to private tours that include everything from Montserrat to 4-wheel drives, olive groves, horseback, ebikes and much more.
There are options for day trips to Priorat for Barcelona, but they are more limited. Also, the additional distance means visiting Priorat is only possible as a full-day trip.
In my opinion, the best option for visiting the wineries near Barcelona is to stay nearby for at least one night. Due to the small windy roads, it is very difficult to see much in Priorat on a day trip. Penedes has lots of different cava and wine based experiences as well as other fun things to do in places like the capital Vilafranca Del Penedes. Staying at least one night will complement a visit to busy Barcelona well.
Wineries in the Penedès Region
Penedès, located near Barcelona, is a fantastic destination for wine enthusiasts as it offers 200 wineries and vineyards to explore. This region produces the most wine in Catalonia and it is home to the region’s wine capital, Vilafranca Del Penedes, as well as the home of cava Saint Sadurni d’Anoia.
The region’s wine traditions date back to Roman times. However, the wine trade only established itself at the end of the 19th century. Penedes was a big red wine producer at the time but decided to make sparkling wines in the style of French champagne and Cava was born.
The easiest way to visit wineries in the Penedes region is to head to the cava capital of Saint Sadurni d’Anoia. There are 18 cava wineries in the town as well as many others nearby.
So which cava wineries should you visit?
When you hear the word cava it is most likely that a black bottle of Freixenet comes to mind. This Spanish wine may well be the best-known in the world for cava. They began producing sparkling wines in the 1920s and are the biggest cava producer in Spain.
If I am honest I have possibly been a little snobby about Freixenet in the past. I have a totally different perception of the brand after doing a tour of their winery and a tasting. Their history, knowledge and expertise all came through, and they have quite a few premium brands and products. Plus they have been growing and using their own yeast for many years which is quite impressive.
Freixenet offers several different options for a winery visit. The basic guided tour runs for 90 minutes and includes a tour of the beautiful cava wine cellar and a chance to sample two cavas on the winery’s terrace. There are then three further options for wine pairings:
- Greatest European Sparkling Wines – try cava as well as sparkling wines from Veneto, Germany and Champagne.
- Gran Reservas Secrets – try four Gran Reservas Cavas with aperitifs
- Chocolate Passion – try four cavas with paired chocolates. This is the tour that I took and I highly recommend it. I was able to taste cavas and chocolates in the spectacular cava caves under Freixenet and it was a special experience.
Freixenet also offers combined visits:
- Combine a Freixenet tour and tasting with a visit to the delicious Simon Coll Chocolate Factory. This ticket is great value.
- Freixetren – great value combining your train ticket from Barcelona with a tour and tasting
- Combine your Freixenet tour with a visit to the Cava Centre in Sant Sadurni d’Anoia
Freixenet is literally next to Sant Sadurni d’Anoia station so it couldn’t be easier to visit on a day tour or as part of a longer visit. They also have a wine bar on the winery’s terrace.
When I visit a wine region I like to ask the people I meet what they think are the best wines in the area. Recaredo came up several times in my conversations whilst in Catalonia. Recaredo began making sparkling wine in 1924.
This family run business was the first cava producer in Penedes to be certified as biodynamic in 2010. The winery only uses locally sourced indigenous grapes and all of its wines are aged for a minimum of 30 months.
It is possible to visit Recaredo in Saint Sadurni d’Anoia (they are located in the middle of town) but they tend to have longer tours and should definitely be booked in advance.
3. Canals and Munne
Canals and Munne is the number one cava winery on Trip Advisor. This small family business began making wine in 1915. Today they have two locations in Saint Sadurni D’Anoia. One is their restaurant and the second is their winery where tastings are held.
The standard tour includes a visit to the cellars, three tastings, snacks and a gift glass over 90 minutes. Two tours are conducted in English each day on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. The second option is the standard tour plus a two-course lunch at the Canals and Munne restaurant and this is great value for money. Or add dessert for another 5 euros per person and a trip to the Simon Coll chocolate factory.
There is also a private tour option as well as a wine and cheese paired tasting. Canals and Munne also produce wine, vermouth, oils and more.
15 Bodegas own 15 wineries in Spain – thus the name! In Saint Sadurni d’Anoia they own Codorniu, one of the most famous names in cava and the oldest winery in Spain. The first bottle of cava was manufactured at Codorniu in 1872. The Saint Sadurni d’ Anoia cellars by famous Catalan architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch was named a National Historic-Artistic Monument in 1976.
Winery tours at Cordoniu last for 90 minutes and include a Mondernista Walk, a museum visit and a visit to the underground cellars (which includes a train ride). Visitors can then choose from one of two tasting options. The less expensive option provides a tasting of two top cava wines and the second option is a tasting of three cava wines accompanied by snacks.
5. Segura Viudas
Just a short drive from Saint Sadurni d’Anoia, Segura Viudas dates back to the 11th century. The center of the winery is a beautiful old stone building with a medieval tower that dates back 10 centuries. Segura Viudas cava was launched in 1954 and the brand was purchased by Freixenet in 1984.
Segura Viudas accurately claims it is a boutique winery. It is much smaller than Freixenet and Codorniu so offers a nice contrast. Take a tour of the winery, one of the vineyard tours and taste two cavas or try five different cavas with a local brunch.
6. Familia Torres
The Torres family has been making wine in Penedes for three centuries. The company was founded in 1870 and the fifth generation now runs the winery. Torres runs tours on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in three different languages.
Take their small train across the vineyards where you’ll see the sheep and roosters who do a job previously taken care of by tractors. Take a short walk through the cava cellars – they are are quite spectacular.
After the train tour, it was time for the tasting. The tasting I experienced combined Torres wines with locally sourced delicious tapas. I followed this with a fantastic lunch at the winery’s restaurant, El Celleret. If the weather permits, make sure to book a table outside so you can enjoy the amazing views all the way to the Montserrat mountains.
Wineries in the Priorat Region
The Priorat region, known for its top red wines, is located just 130 km south of Barcelona. There are only two DOQ wine regions in Spain, Rioja and Priorat. The region has several unique characteristics. Its key characteristic is its 80% slate and 20% clay soil. This high percentage of slate is what gives the red wines of Priorat their characteristic flavor.
The region is quite mountainous with lots of steep slopes for grapes. However, this combined with the characteristic slate soil results in low yields and some great wines. The two key red grapes of the region are Grenache and Carignan. Grenache is a grape that produces lighter reds. However, carignan is more merlot-like and ages well. The blending of these two grapes is what gives Priorat some of its award wining wines.
Priorat was essentially abandoned after the phylloxera outbreak in the 1880s. The Spanish Civil War also didn’t help and the area became focussed on producing olives and almonds only. In the 1970s four families started investing in the area’s wine-growing capabilities and quickly started winning awards. However, even today, Priorat is quite small, producing just 3 million bottles of wine a year (that would be the production of one winery annually in Rioja).
There are approximately 120 wineries in Priorat. However, wine tourism has developed slowly so only about 30 are open for tastings. So make sure you book your tasting appointments ahead of time particularly if you need them to be in English.
7. Mas Doix
Mas Doix is a relatively small winery that has won some big results with its wines. Whilst the winery’s first vintage was in 1999, grapes from their vineyards had been sold to cooperatives for the last 150 years.
Mas Doix has a relatively unique location in Priorat. Their vineyards are located in an area of the mountains where there is an opening that allows the sea breezes (Priorat is only 30 minutes from the sea) to come through at night. This gives their vineyards a large diurnal range so their grapes can stay on the vine for longer to develop more flavors and better wines.
Today the winery has 25 hectares with 16 fields. Its premium sub brands are 1902 (100% carignan) and 1903 (100% grenache). The years are literally the age of the vines that produce the grapes which go into these bottles. These are Mas Doix’s most acclaimed wines.
Unlike Rioja, Priorat has no tiering like crianza etc. The high acidity of the Carignan grape is particularly good for aging. As Priorat really only got up and running again in 1990s some of the aging opportunity of their reds is literally unknown at this point. All indicators suggest there should be considerable aging opportunities with Priorat reds so you may score some bargains when visiting.
Mas Dois also produces white wines (white grenache) and rose.
Mas Doix runs tours and tastings Monday-Saturday. Choose from tasting five or several wines. There are usually three tours a day but they may not be in your language. You can risk just showing up but your best option is to call or email and book.
Perinet owns three vineyards in distinctively different micro climates in Priorat. Their main grapes are grenache, carignan and syrah but they also produce cabernet sauvignon and merlot. They do not grow any white grapes.
The winery was established by three partners in 1998. One of those partners was well known Catalan singer Joan Manuel Serrat. Their premium range is 1184, the year the monks first arrived in Priorat.
Perinet is open for tours and tastings Tuesday through Saturday. There are several tasting options:
- Barrel Tasting: visit the vineyard and take a tour of the winery to see wine production. Taste four wines in the tasting room including one premium limited edition. Includes local snacks.
- Classic Winery Tour and Tasting: as above but taste only three wines and no snacks
- Visit the Wine Terrace: visit at any time the winery is open and enjoy a flight
- Harvest Festival: special event during harvest including lunch
Planning Your Visit
Best Time to Visit
Spring and autumn are generally the most pleasant times of year to visit these wineries near Barcelona. You’ll be able to really enjoy the actual vineyards and if you visit in autumn you may be able to time your visit around harvest time.
The summer is hot and can be very crowded but there can also be fun events and festivals. Tasting rooms are still open in the winter but Catalonia can be cold and hours may be shortened. Plus it isn’t much fun heading into the vineyards if it is cold and raining.
Where to Stay in Catalonia
If you decide to spend the night whilst visiting these wineries near Barcelona, I would recommend the following hotels where I stayed.
In Penedes I stayed in the wonderful Hotel Mercer Casa Corner i Guell in Vilafranca del Penedes, a 20 minute drive from Sant Sadurni d’Anoia. Located in a Catalan Art Nouveau building that dates back to 1884, this branch of the stylish Mercer Hotels is the perfect place to stay while in Vilafranca del Penedes. It has a brilliant location on the old main square just a few short steps from the pedestrianised old town center and the Plaza de la Vila.
The hotel has 14 rooms and 3 suites. The interiors are modern and stylish, with flashes of deep reds and browns. My room was on the top floor and it had a lovely balcony with views over town.
Also in Penedes, the beautiful boutique hotel Font de la Canya is a 15 minute drive from Sant Sadurni d’Anoia. The wonderful Cal Blay Group owns the hotel and is one of the most delightful boutique hotels I have stayed in recently.
Staying here is like staying at your most stylish friend’s country retreat. The grounds are just stunning and so beautifully landscaped with palm trees, olive trees, an outdoor swimming pool and a small lake. (there is another stylish swimming pool inside).
The design aesthetic is simple, with soft furnishings in shades of stone and grey-green. This carries into the eight beautiful rooms. Polished wood floorboards, white walls and ceilings, plants and loads of plush pillows and robes create a stylish yet oh so relaxing experience.
I had a fantastic meal in Sant Antonio d’Anoia at Cal Blay’s Origen restaurant which I highly recommend. In Vilafranca Del Penedes you must visit the fantastic wine taverna at Vinseum, the town’s wine museum. It is possible to try over 200 wines by the glass, fantastic local cheeses and meats are served and their sommelier Enric is the best.
In Priorat, I stayed at the charming El Palauet del Priorat in Cornudella de Montsant. I LOVED this gorgeous boutique hotel. The house is 130 years old and located in the center of Cornudella de Monstsant.
The hotel has just seven rooms and three general areas: hall, dining club and social club. The house has been beautifully restored. The stone walls and marble floors are complemented by slightly decadent soft furnishings.
I had a fantastic suite with a large terrace on the top floor. The high-ceilinged room had exposed beams and it was spacious but so cosy.
And the food was fantastic!!! You must visit the restaurant at El Palauet del Priorat even if you aren’t staying. I enjoyed tuna as my starter and then the most delicious Catalan stew for my main. Breakfast in the morning was as tasty as I hoped with locally sourced vegetables, cheese and meats.
Whilst in Priorat I also highly recommend visiting beautiful Siurana. This hilltop town is virtually unchanged from the 12th century and has amazing views over the region. Plus Restaurant Siurana serves outstanding grilled lamb.
My trip to Catalonia was sponsored by the Catalan Tourism Board. However, as always my opinions are my own.
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